'With my first start-up, I set out to transform India's education sector'
Yeshwanth, from India, is a global finalist for the Business and Innovation Alumni Award 2022. He shares how his MBA from the University of Southampton prepared him to launch India’s first online school - 21K School - to assist with the delivery of online classes during the pandemic.
‘I knew that coming to the UK would give me global exposure like no other country’
I chose to study in the UK as I was influenced by the stories of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Ramanujam and Manmoham Singh, who all studied here. The UK also has historically close academic, social and political ties with India. I knew that coming to the UK would give me global exposure like no other country.
Another significant factor was the course duration. The University of Southampton offered a one-year MBA. This is generally shorter than similar courses globally, which meant a substantial saving and a shorter time out of work.
‘The University of Southampton ranks among the top 10 UK universities for the School of Education’
I did my MBA specialising in education management. I was impressed by the course’s credentials, with its ranking among the top 10 UK universities for the School of Education.
The university took into account professional work experience in applications, so to be accepted I didn’t have to sit a Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or other qualifying assessments.
‘My fellow students had extensive industry knowledge’
After working in education for six years, I decided to step out and upskill. The University of Southampton valued my experiences, as well as that of others who applied.
As a result, my fellow students added value to the course by bringing their extensive industry knowledge to our interactions based on what they had done each day at home or abroad.
‘It was easy to stay focused on academics while maintaining momentum for my rigorous MBA’
Although, at the beginning of my MBA journey, the workload was challenging, there were always people who believed in me and were able to guide me through it. The faculty members were consistently accommodating and understanding. With well-articulated quarterly goals and future aspirations, it was easy to stay focused on academics while maintaining momentum for my rigorous MBA.
‘I could never have imagined being part of such a diverse global community’
My one-year MBA course exceeded my expectations. The internationally diverse classroom and the high-quality education gave me the tools that I needed to rethink everything personally.
I found myself in the company of brilliant peers, exposed to new cultures and ideas and tackling relevant contemporary issues. I could never have imagined being part of such a diverse global community.
The UK is a progressive, multicultural society and its cultural and social diversity has deeply moved me. I was able to show up authentically as someone who comes from humble beginnings and any cultural differences that existed were welcomed and accepted.
‘I moved beyond the textbooks and learned practical aspects of business and strategy’
My MBA helped me develop my professional skills and competencies in the management of people, system orientation, collaboration, diversity, problem-solving and process-oriented thinking. While studying in the UK, I moved beyond the textbooks and learned practical aspects of business strategy.
My mentor and guide from the Education Department - Professor John Taylor - was pivotal in helping me start my entrepreneurial journey and launch my education management company in India. The staff went above and beyond what I could ever have expected. Even after completing my studies, I still have an active connection with them which says something about their commitment to their students and alumni. The Alumni Department is excellent.
‘My UK degree gave me high social recognition on my return to India’
At the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, I became acutely aware that my UK degree was very well respected and gave me high social recognition on my return to India.
‘With my first start-up, I set out to transform India’s education sector’
With my first start-up, Strategum Eduserve, I set out to transform India’s education sector. Through my education management company, I have already established over 50 schools, colleges and universities across India. They have ranged from a Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) school in Assam that is affected by extremism, to a private tribal university and Mumbai’s first project-based learning school.
I have managed high-value projects valued at an estimated Rs. 11 billion (Indian Rupees) - more than £115 million (British Pound Sterling). The projects I have managed have impacted the lives of over 10,000 students and a million people indirectly through progressive educational institutions set up in the least developed cities of India (tier 3/4) of India.
‘My vision is to provide first-rate learning tools for an affordable, well-rounded and joyful education’
When the pandemic hit, schools in India were unprepared to deal with the delivery of online classes. In June 2020, with my co-founders, I set up India’s first online-only school - 21K School. Today 21K School educates over 6,000 students from more than 500 cities and more than 72 countries. It is set to reach 100,000 students in the next five years.
My vision is to encourage and provide the new generation of learners with first-rate learning tools for an affordable, well-rounded and joyful education. We recently raised $5 million US dollars in funding and are confident we will continue to expand worldwide.
‘A UK degree will open many doors for you’
I advise everyone considering studying in the UK to just go for it and grab the opportunity. Although I do not come from a wealthy background, I have prioritised my education in the UK and the financial commitment was worth it. I now have a successful career, financial freedom and the opportunity to impact millions of lives.
I believe that my experience of being an international student here and doing my one-year MBA with the University of Southampton has shaped who I am today. I have seen things differently and have truly experienced what it feels like to push the boundaries of my comfort zone.
If you stay focused and work hard, a UK degree will open many doors for you.
The Alumni Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education.
Business and Innovation Award 2022
Recognising alumni who are initiating and contributing to creative new ideas, solutions or business opportunities, that have the potential for growth.
Study business in the UK
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